Vivien and Lizzie are available to give talks on various aspects of otter ecology.
We are also able to run informative walks and there is always a chance we may see otters or their field signs.
Please get in touch via the Contact page of the website if you are interested.
We do ask for a donation for hosting events.
A selection of news is available here but a great way to keep up to date with sightings and media coverage regarding UK otters is to join us on Facebook by clicking here
Vivien is giving a talk to Alnwick Wildlife Group on Wednesday 25th May at 7:30 pm at the St. James' Church Centre, Pottergate, Alnwick. This is for members of Alnwick WG.
Photo John Melia
Photo The Otter Network
Successful Operation to Capture and Treat Injured Otter
The Otter Network was last year involved in an operation to rescue an otter in the North East that had become entangled in fishing line that was wrapped tightly around its body.
Otters with injuries such as this are not often seen due to the secretive nature of the species and live-trapping them is rarely attempted due to their wide-ranging habits, their extreme dislike of confinement and reluctance to take dead fish offered as bait.
After confirming the location of the animal with a trail camera, the RSPCA deployed a specialist otter trap close by - but left it unarmed with bait inside to make sure that the otter would go into it (otters do not generally like to enter enclosed spaces). The trail camera was repositioned to monitor the open trap and that night the otter came and entered the trap to take the bait.
The trap was then set and more fish bait left inside for the following night. The otter went in and set off the trap. The RSPCA then took her straight to the vet where she was anaesthetised, and the fishing line removed.
It had left a deep and serious wound so unfortunately she could not be released straight back into the wild. She was taken to the RSPCA Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre at Stapeley Grange, Nantwich where she remained for two weeks.
Then on the 17th March 2021 the RSPCA and Vets4Pets brought her back to the north east and she was released back into her home territory.
We were delighted to be able to play a part in helping this poor animal and the whole operation was a fantastic example of cooperation between organisations – so huge thanks go out to the RSPCA, UKWOT, IOSF, Vets4Pets and both South and North Tyneside Councils for their part in the rescue.
It is also important to mention all the concerned members of the public from both sides of the Tyne who helped by reporting sightings, monitoring trail cameras and sending in photos.
Video The Otter Network
Funding for 2020 Spring Otter Survey
We are delighted to announce that we have been awarded some funding from the ERIC North East Small Grants fund to help with the costs of the Spring Otter Survey again this year. A huge thank you to ERIC North East.
Funding for 2016
We were extremely grateful for a large donation of £200 from R J McLeod as part of their community development fund during the development of Ray Windfarm, Northumberland
June 2015 - European Otter Workshop Stockholm, Sweden
The European Otter Workshop took place at the beautiful Museum of Natural History in Stockholm at the beginning of June. It was attended by a lot of people involved in otter research and conservation from all over the world and the presentations outlining the different challenges faced by both otters and conservationists were very interesting.
Vivien attended and gave a presentation on the DWT Otter Survey and how citizen science volunteers are making an enormous difference to the amount of knowledge we have about otters in the North East.
The paper on which the presentation was based is now available here on the IUCN Otter Specialist Group website
The Annual Spring Survey has become the heart of the Otter Network activities. Run entirely by the dedicated efforts of Vivien. It is such a significant event that it now has its own dedicated page on the website.
We map and monitor all of your incoming records to produce Maps (see below). We choose a data resolution which gives a rough indication of location to protect the sensitive nature of the records we receive:
All records of dead otters sent to us since 2012
All live records sent to us since 2014
We work alongside the Environment Agency to collect and co-ordinate the transport of otters killed on our roads to the Cardiff University Otter Project. This decades old research programme takes all measurements possible from the retrieved carcasses to aid our understanding of everything from the health of the animals organs, to reproductive status, to heavy metal contaminants the animal may have been exposed to. For more information on the Cardiff University Otter Project please click here
When we can we look to work with MSc students from research institutes to explore in depth the data held relating to local otter records